Steam shower Construction

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by dradam, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. dradam

    dradam New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Washington
    I am building a steam shower an have had to sort through a lot of conflicting information on the web. I know many like kerdi or nobleseal but the inside membranes seem like extra cost, more pieces or strips to leak and more work to install (two layers of thinset). I am looking for feedback on my current plan.

    I have an acrylic base and ceiling that are preformed and steam compatible so For the walls I am planning..

    2x4 stud walls

    pvc or cpe membrane over the 2x4 will go inside the lip of the acrylic ceiling and base sealed to the lip top and bottom

    1/2 inch durock over the cpe or pvc membrane

    unfortified thinset joints mid wall, but silicone joints between wall panels and between walls and ceiling /base to allow for expansion.

    unfortified thinset and grout to adhere my tile with white silicone at ceiling/base and wall junction to allow for expansion.

    Based on what I have read having the vapor/moisture barrier outside the enclosure is ok as long as the thinset and grout are not latex modified as this would trap moisture beneath the tile.


    Thank you
  2. Sounds good. Very thorough work. Congratulations.

    -david
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New England
    Having the waterproofing underneath means that you will have a huge amount of moisture IN the tile and walls. A recipe for mold. You really want a surface membrane and there are probably 3-4 that are approved for this. I don't know if you can view the specifications on-line for free, or have to buy the book, but the TCNA (Tile Council North America) sets the standards for tile use in showers, and on floors (well, basically everywhere you could reasonably put tile). These form the basis of acceptable industry standards. Many areas base the building codes on them by reference. Don't try to roll your own - go to the source. They've tested and know what works. It's a major expense building a steam shower; might as well do it so it will last and perform well.
  4. dradam

    dradam New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Washington
    what is your recommended inside treatment -Kerdi?
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New England
    Personally, I like Kerdi. Latticrete and Noble both make good surface waterproofing systems as well. In my view, the less you can saturate with moisture the better. This requires a surface membrane, not one embedded further inside the steam shower. Attention to detail is paramount - you don't want any of that moisture to get into the wall system. While not a big deal in a conventional shower, all of the nail or screw holes required to install CBU on top of a membrane means numerous holes. The vapor pressure drives moisture deep within the structure in a steam shower. It isn't any where near as big a problem in a conventional one. This means sealing every penetration - steam head, valves, etc. carefully and well. A steam shower is a very different animal than a conventional shower. A Sloped ceiling is also very useful since you don't want cold drips of condensation falling on you while you are lounging in the steam, either.

    If you haven't visited www.johnbridge.com, you should. You'll get the straight, well-qualified line of help there from tiling pros that have more than one steam shower under their belts. TCNA defines more than one way to correctly build a steam shower...pick one, and stick with it. Don't try to mix systems or invent your own.
  6. dradam

    dradam New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Washington
    thank you very much
  7. theshowerguy

    theshowerguy New Member

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    Location:
    orange county
  8. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Steam Shower Construction - what to look out for

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  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Steam Shower Check List: What you need to know!

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  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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    Steam Shower Construction - False Creek Vancouver

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  11. jla

    jla New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    Michigan
    My contractor will be beginning my master bath renovation shortly and I am having a Thermasol Pro-Series steam shower installed. After reading your posts, I am concerned that the proper steps may be inadvertently overlooked in the steam shower installation since it is not a common project in this area. How do I make sure that the proper steps are followed as well as the proper supplies, especially barriers, membranes, mortars, etc. are used? Is there a specific check list of steps detailing all of this? I'd rather be extra careful now and not have any future problems.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    See if your local library has a copy of the latest (2012) version of the TCNA handbook - Tile Council of North America, if not, you can buy one directly from them. In there, they list and describe all industry approved and tested ways to build a successful steam shower. If your contractor followed one of the approved methods AND used good workmanship without errors or omissions, it should be okay. This isn't something people should wing on their own - lots of engineering and historic testing results have gone into developing methods that work.
  13. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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  14. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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  15. jla

    jla New Member

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    Location:
    Michigan
    Thank you both so much for the good information. I am hoping to do a play-by-play on this blog if I can figure out what they're doing without bothering the workers too much.
  16. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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  17. jla

    jla New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Michigan
    Concerning the tile inside the steam shower, the only thing I know is that I am using ceramic on the walls, porcelain on the floor and seat and an accent of some glass tiles. They are all from different manufacturers. I would have thought that Thermasol would know about the thinset. Must these tile manufacturers be contacted?
    Also, I did mention the TCNA book to my contractor. He did not seem to be aware of it but will check into it.
  18. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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  19. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    FWIW, porcelain IS a ceramic. My preference would be to use porcelain tile in a steam shower since it absorbs less that conventional ceramic tile. A good porcelain will only absorb 1-2%, some ceramic tile can absorb 10x as much and the resulting time to dry out.
  20. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple I love these ACO Shower Drains - Best in Class

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